What You Should Know About Your Consultation With a Divorce Attorney
The decision to get a divorce is not an easy one. In the middle of your emotional upheaval, you must choose a divorce attorney who can help you through the process. You’ll want to be prepared for your first consultation to make the most of your time.
It’s natural to feel stressed, sad, and unsure at the first appointment. Sometimes, you might even feel a little bit of relief. But one way or the other, the appointment is bound to be emotionally draining. One way of mitigating stress is to understand what you can expect during the first consultation.
Your attorney will have questions for you, which can vary from case to case. You will also likely have questions for your attorney. There are documents that are helpful for you to bring with you during the first meeting.
These are some of the questions the Cedar Rapids divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC typically ask and some of the paperwork our clients typically bring with them. If you have immediate questions that need to be answered, don’t hesitate to reach out to Arenson Law Group, PC today. We’re here to help.
It’s Time to Ask Questions
Your first meeting with your attorney is the time to get to know them and determine whether you feel comfortable with their representation. One of the key questions to ask is how you’ll communicate throughout the case. Being able to communicate regularly is essential to a successful outcome. Communication preferences can include phone calls, videoconferencing, emails, or in-person meetings.
It’s also important to understand the fee structure. This helps you estimate how much the divorce may cost. No attorney can make a guarantee about how long the case will last as there are several factors to take into consideration. These include alimony, child custody and support, and your ex-spouse’s willingness to negotiate quickly. Your attorney will also have a list of questions for you.
There are countless reasons why couples split up. Your attorney is going to want to know the reason you’re looking for divorce because it can help during negotiations with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. They will also want to know your current living arrangements. In some cases, a divorcing couple will choose to share the house until the divorce has been finalized.
The attorney needs to know if minor children or other family members are living with you as this will impact divorce proceedings. Are these children from your current marriage or from a previous marriage? Child custody is often the most critical and contentious issue in a divorce proceeding.
Your attorney will ask what your “must-haves” are, or the most important things that you must get out of the divorce. Often, this includes financial assets, such as real estate, savings, and retirement funds. Finally, your attorney will want to know if there were abuse or addiction challenges in the marriage. Should you have further questions, contact us today!
What Should You Bring?
There are several documents you’ll want to bring with you, so your first consultation is as productive as possible. If the thought of gathering these documents causes you stress, don’t worry. You’ll still benefit from consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer, even if you can’t find all the documents.
Marriage documents: To proceed with a divorce, your attorney will need to know you were legally married, when, and where. Your marriage certificate can help establish this information.
Documents for any marital assets: Marriage is a contractual agreement, and a divorce proceeding breaks that contract. Much of the process will deal with your finances, which includes splitting property and finances. If you had a prenuptial agreement, bring that with you as well. Be sure to identify what property you acquired before the marriage that is solely yours and bring documented proof of that ownership if you have it.
Salary information: One spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support or child support, depending on income levels and child custody. You can provide proof of income using tax returns, employment records, or pay stubs.
Documentation of debt: Just as important as proving your assets, your lawyer will also need to know how much debt you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are in. This provides a complete financial picture and helps determine how the debt and assets will be split, as well as any alimony and child support that must be paid.
Contact Arenson Law Group, PC Today for Help With Your Divorce
If you are going to file for divorce, or your spouse has filed for divorce, you need the support of an experienced divorce attorney. The outcome of your divorce will have consequences for many years to come. It’s crucial that your interests and rights are protected during this process.
The skilled and compassionate divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC understand the emotional upheaval that accompanies divorce proceedings. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and can help with many of the issues that arise during a divorce, such as grandparent visitation, premarital agreements, restraining orders, and property division.
Call our office today at (319) 363-8199, or reach out to us online to schedule your initial consultation. You’ll meet your legal team, who will start developing a strategy to help ensure your needs are met.
Even at the best of times, divorce can be both complicated and disruptive. It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of different issues at hand, so people often turn to divorce attorneys to help them manage. However, many people don’t realize that a good financial planner is just as important.
Whether or not you have a sizable estate, a dedicated financial planner can help protect your interests and avoid costly errors during a divorce. In this blog, the legal team at Arenson Law Group, PC discusses how a financial planner can support you in your divorce and why it’s crucial to hire an advisor of your own.
Why You Need a Financial Planner During Divorce Proceedings
Immediately after you hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce, your next step should be finding a trusted financial advisor. With a dependable financial planner in your corner from the beginning, you can avoid potential errors that could cost you financially, both during the divorce and after it’s finalized.
Division of marital assets is one of the most complicated and emotional aspects of divorce, so it’s best to avoid leaving anything to chance. A professional financial planner can relieve you of the burden of figuring everything out yourself or second-guessing your decisions later on.
One of the most valuable ways a financial planner can help you is by reviewing your assets and expenses, both pre- and post-divorce. This is particularly important if your spouse was largely responsible for managing your investments or paying the bills.
A financial advisor can help you identify all marital assets to ensure you receive your fair share. Some commonly overlooked assets include:
- Marital homes and other real estate properties
- Engagement or wedding rings
- Jewelry, heirlooms, and antiques
- Bank accounts and retirement savings
- College savings accounts
- Life insurance policies
Why It’s Important to Find Your Own Financial Planner
If you’ve worked with a financial planner in the past, chances are they have interacted with your spouse and managed assets for both of you. You may feel inclined to continue working with a familiar face, but when it comes to divorce proceedings, this would likely be a big mistake.
Although your old financial planner is likely more than capable of helping you manage your finances during a divorce, continuing to work with them could lead to conflicts of interest. If they already know both you and your spouse, they may be subconsciously biased in a way that could negatively impact your financial future.
In addition to a lack of objectivity, sticking with the same financial planner during divorce could result in certain avoidable mistakes. For instance, let’s say your spouse made certain financial decisions without telling you, but they did tell your advisor. If the advisor expects that you know the details of those decisions, they may decide it’s not necessary to discuss them with you. This unintentional oversight could mean you end up losing out on your share of the assets.
When it comes to divorce, you ultimately want a financial planner of your own who has a fresh perspective and your best interests in mind.
Issues to Discuss with Your Financial Planner
When you find a financial planner who suits you, it’s important to make sure they understand every aspect of your financial goals. Every situation is different, but you’ll generally want to discuss your preferences for the following post-divorce issues with your advisor:
- Whose name will be on various assets. Do you have your spouse listed as a beneficiary for your life insurance policy or any other assets? If so, you probably want to make sure their name is removed after divorce. Your lawyer can help you modify certain documents, like your will, but a dedicated financial planner can provide additional professional guidance to help protect you in the long run.
- How your lifestyle and budget will change. Although your expenses will likely be lower after the divorce, your income probably will be as well, so you may need to make adjustments to maintain your current lifestyle. You may also need to change your budget to avoid incurring or adding to debts.
- How you will manage your investments. If you receive a substantial sum from your ex as a result of the divorce, you may consider investing all or a portion of the settlement. If so, your financial planner can help you plan for your future and structure your investments to give you the greatest long-term advantage.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
If you’re in the process of divorcing in Iowa, don’t delay in hiring a new financial planner of your own. The experienced Cedar Rapids divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC can provide useful advice and help you find a financial planner who works for you. Call us today at (319) 363-8199 or contact us online to learn more in an initial consultation.
Marriage is about love, trust, and finances. Whether you are in the process of getting a divorce, looking to create a prenup, or are just curious about what would happen should your marriage end, it is important to understand what happens to debt in cases of separation. Here’s how you can expect your debt to be divided upon divorce, and what you can do to protect your wealth.
How to Separate Assets Before or During Marriage
If you are preparing to get married, or are recently married, there are ways to protect your financial assets in case of divorce.
What Is a Prenup?
A prenup, short for a prenuptial agreement, is a legal document in which spouses state what their responsibilities will be, in addition to how their assets and debts will be divided, in the event of a divorce or death. While prenups are an investment (they can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 depending on the couples’ existing debts and assets) they are worth it in the event of a divorce. A prenup will enable you to specify exactly who will pay what debts at the end of a marriage. The certainty that a prenup provides is worth the price.
What Is a Postnup?
If you and your spouse decided after marriage to get a prenup, it’s called a postnup, or post-nuptial agreement. Postnups function in the same way that prenups do. Notably, it will likely be more expensive to get a postnup made as you and your spouse have probably accumulated more assets since marriage.
Legal Liability after Divorce
In simple terms, if you signed the loan, you are responsible for the loan. Even if your former spouse claims they’ll pay it off, you are not ‘off the hook.’ Creditors do not care if you are no longer married. If your spouse defaults on payments, or has late fees, they will come after you if you are listed on the loan.
The opposite is also true. If you took out a loan for your spouse during your marriage and were both paying it off, you might expect to continue to do that after divorce. However, when the debts are settled in court, if you are listed as the sole borrower, it will likely only be you that is directed to pay the loan off.
How to Protect Your Money in Case of Divorce
So, what if it’s too late? You and your spouse are on the rocks and you need to start thinking strategically about your debt and your future. The truth is, it’s never too late to get a jump-start on an equitable financial separation from your spouse. The moment you and your partner decide to separate is the moment you should take action. Preparing your finances by taking the following steps BEFORE you see a family law attorney will pave the way for an easier and simpler divorce.
Just as you are severing the emotional connection to your partner, you need to sever the financial one. Stop using joint credit cards in order to be able to identify what debt is whose. If possible, close down joint checking and savings accounts. In addition to halting the usage of joint credit cards, you need to get your name taken off the accounts. This might be time-consuming, but the idea is to create as much distance as possible between you and any debt your soon-to-be ex-spouse is creating.
Finally, pay off as much shared debt as possible before entering into formal divorce proceedings. While collaborating with your spouse in this manner may be the last thing you want to do while expecting a divorce, paying off community debt will clear up who is responsible for other debts, and make the divorce proceedings quicker and smoother.
Contact Us Today
Divorce is stressful, emotionally exhausting, and will take a lot out of you. If you and your spouse are divorcing, what you need is an experienced attorney in your corner. The Cedar Rapids divorce lawyers of Arenson Law Group, PC have decades of experience in the community helping people like you get through one of the most difficult periods of their lives. We will help you get organized, protect your assets, do our best to help you get the most time possible with your kids, and get through this divorce as smoothly as possible. Call us today at (319) 363-8199 to start making a plan for your new life and new future.